A Behavior Modification Approach to the Treatment of Autistic Children
When we talk about autistic children we are describing children who manifest several characteristic pathological behaviors (e.g., social withdrawal, self-stimulation, ritualistic behavior, echolalic and psychotic speech, apparent sensory deficit, affective impoverishment). When using such a diagnostic label one is typically conceptualizing autism as a distinct entity; an underlying process that is seen as the cause of these deviant behaviors. Indeed, a great deal of research has focused on this one underlying process as the basis for the psychopathology. From a behavioristic viewpoint, it is quite unnecessary to postulate such an underlying disease or entity, and indeed it is quite possible that the different autistic behaviors are related to several different kinds of antecedent conditions. For example, we do know that many if not all of the behaviors one observes in autistic children exist in other children as well; retarded and blind children self-stimulate as do normal children if they have nothing else to do. Braindamaged children sometimes echo while some retarded children have unusually well-developed rote memories, and so on.
KeywordsAutistic Child Training Stimulus Apply Behavior Analysis Conditioned Reinforcer Retarded Child
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